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Jonathan Gannon explains Haason Reddick’s special skill set

Plus, the Eagles’ defensive coordinator talked about some of the young CBs like Josiah Scott and Zech McPhearson.

Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon spoke to reporters on Tuesday and touched on the team’s win over the Jaguars in Week 4, and also talked about some of the guys who had to fill in for injured starters. He explained why they put Josiah Scott in at nickel instead of shifting guys around, and how Zech McPhearson has done in place of Darius Slay at times.

Here’s what the DC had to say:

On the win over the Jaguars

“I thought we handled adversity well. It’s the first time we got down early in a game. I really liked our attitude on the sideline. I liked our players’ response. I liked the coaches’ response. We played some good ball. Guys made some big-time plays in that game. That’s normally what it takes, and executed at a pretty good level. There’s some things we’ve got to clean up, as always, and we’re working to do that.”

On the CB position

Gannon explained the reason for bringing in Josiah Scott instead of shuffling the secondary around with injuries. He noted that Scott does a night job and has the skill set they’re looking for at the nickel position. Plus, he didn’t want to get into a trickle down effect with moving one guy and then another, they’d rather just replace the one position.

“We also got some different packages and some different bullets to switch guys in and out, but like how we played that game.”

The DC also said that the experience Zech McPhearson is getting when he steps in for Darius Slay is huge.

“This is his second year, and he got some really good quality snaps last year. I think that he improved. He improved his game. He had a really good training camp. We feel good about Zech going in.

You’ve always got to be ready to go in. You never know when he’s the next guy in that spot. Played well, executed. I thought he covered really well. Mentally he was sharp. That’s one of the hardest things. It’s really not the physical to me with the guys that we have up. It’s the mental, because they just don’t get a ton of reps in practice.”

Gannon also had a big smile when talking about James Bradberry and being able to add him late in free agency. He mentioned that Bradberry is the type of guy they love on the roster — has high football character, is extremely intelligent, and can play different styles.

“It’s hard to complete balls to him. He’s got length. He’s got range. He’s sticky. He’s got ball skills that you’ve seen. He’s a corner with a very unique skillset that can kind of do it all. I’m really pleased with where he’s at, and he’s going to continue to ascend, too.”

On Haason Reddick

Gannon talked about how Reddick has a very unique skill set, but above all, his football character and how much he loves ball really stands out. He noted that there’s a lot of talented guys out there who don’t really love the game, so building a roster of guys who love ball and are team first players, helps a team win consistently.

The DC went on to say that from there, Reddick affects the game in different ways. He makes big-time plays and they are able to use him different ways — even if that doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet. They are able to deploy him in different ways to create good matchups for other guys, in part because of his unique skill set.

“For a guy that’s a speed rusher, he’s very powerful. [...] We can deploy him different ways where he can play in space. He can play different spots along the line. That’s a really good piece to have for us because one, he can handle it mentally, and two, that gives us a chance to create different matchups that we like. So, he can play right and left. He can stack. He can do it all.”

Gannon was later asked about Reddick and forced fumbles and whether that’s a natural gift or something that is taught. He noted that it’s a little of both. There is a skill set and certain feel for guys that take the ball away more than others, but the coaching staff spent a lot of time in the offseason looking at how they drill and coach things — noting that head coach Nick Sirianni made them change some things.

“At first, change might be a little uncomfortable, but we said, ‘Look, we do have to change some of these things, and it starts with me. How are we coaching this? What is the language? Do the players understand? Are we drilling it the correct way?’

So, then what you want to do is get as many guys as you can that have a knack for taking the ball away and then drill it and teach it better and hopefully it comes to fruition, which it has.”

Other notables

  • Gannon mentioned that he likes keeping guys fresh and likes where rookie Jordan Davis’ snaps are — not being on the field for every play. He said that Davis is developing every week and he’s continuing to ascend, plus the things that DL coach Tracy Rocker has been working on with the DT is showing up on tape.
  • The DC touched on his scouting experience and how he factors things like salary cap into roster building. He mentioned that he takes it all into consideration, and while everyone wants premium players at all levels, but it’s important to have a clear vision of the certain skill-sets they’re looking for.

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